More than 1 in 4 Black workers think code-switching is vital


Hello, Quartz at Work readers!

Recent years have given rise to the idea of bringing your authentic self to work, but employees of marginalized backgrounds are still hesitant to be their whole selves on the job. So they code-switch.

Code-switching—or the practice of changing your tone, expressions, body language, or appearance to fit in with a dominant culture—has long been documented among workers from marginalized groups, particularly among people of color. New data shows that those workers not only code-switch to fit in, but also see it as necessary to having a successful career.

In a survey released Feb. 1 by Indeed, more than one in four Black workers said they think code-switching is vital. Additionally, half reported that not code-switching would have a negative impact on their professional lives.

The statistic is larger than diversity officers and employers should hope for, since code-switching is tied to worker burnout. Laura Bratton outlines why diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts alongside diverse leadership aren’t enough to end the harmful practice for workers of color.

Five things we learned this week

The US had an excellent January jobs report. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics said that 353,000 people were added to payrolls last month, the unemployment rate remains at a super-low 3.7%, and wages are up a sizzling 4.5%.

Big Tech’s big layoffs have come with big profits. Meta, for instance, saw its net income soar 201% in the last three months of 2023—but reduced its headcount by 22% last year.

Public transport in Germany was hit by walkouts in a dispute over working conditions. Local buses, trams, and subway trains were canceled in much of the country on Friday as employees walked off the job.

TikTok isn’t as popular among users as you’d think. Older members of Gen Z (the generation that includes people ages 12 to 27) still use YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook more.

Rich people are buying more residences without a mortgage. The real estate firm Redfin reports that a record share of wealthy buyers are throwing down cash to buy luxury homes.

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One more thing

Microsoft’s stock has soared by more than 1,000% since 2014. That’s compared to the more gradual 185% growth of the broader S&P 500. It’s an impressive feat for Satya Nadella, who just marked a decade leading the $3 trillion company as CEO.


Send questions, comments, and a luxury mansion to [email protected]. This edition of The Memo was written by Melvin Backman, Laura Bratton, Michelle Cheng, and Morgan Haefner.


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